Details behind NWU mistakenly dropping 14.1-million Rands into the account of a student leader keep on growing by the day.
According to reports, collegial jealousy drove the outing of “multi-millionaire” Walter Sisulu University (WSU) Pasma student leader Sibongile Mani, 27.
It is learned that when Mani’s lavish parties grew wilder and more frequent, her political opponents at the institution let the R14.1-million cat out of the bag.
In a 73-day spree from June 1 when the money landed in her account, she spent an average of R11000 a day.
Mani is a second-year accountancy student at the Potsdam campus, and a branch secretary of Pasma, the student wing of the PAC.
By the time she was bust, she had transformed herself and her immediate friends from corn-row hairstyles into sporting expensive weaves, carrying iPhone 7 cellphones, slugging back shots of R700-a-bottle whiskey, and emulating their music star celebs, especially their icon Beyoncé.
“She used to sport neat cornrows but she had recently started wearing a R3000 Peruvian weave,” the paper was told. “She also bought an iPhone 7 for herself and each of all her friends. She suddenly appeared at lectures wearing designer clothes and pimped up her crew of friends. They started looking like a musical band and she started adopting Beyoncé’s style.”
Samkelo Mqhayi, deputy branch secretary of Sasco and SRC support officer, said he was the one who outed her. “She showered [her friends] with expensive gifts and also used some of the money to fly to events like the Durban July.
“Suspicions grew after a Spar receipt was leaked showing a balance of just over R13.6-million. Then as a responsible leader I called NSFAS (National Student Financial Aid Scheme) offices to check if this was true, and NSFAS confirmed that the initial amount was R14-million.
“Obviously, after the slip was trending on social networks students started connecting the dots on how she had been living a luxurious life in the past few months.”
Another Sasco source said the cheapest bottles served at the parties were Johnny Walker Gold which costs R700 per 750ml bottle.
Sasco branch chairman Zolile Zamisa said: “We are shocked about this incident. Not so long ago we were protesting for thousands of students who were left without funding due to shortage of funds. She was living a lavish lifestyle . at up-market Champagne clubs and other expensive hang-out spots.
“We are very disappointed at her as a student leader for not reporting the mistake.”
How R818000 was spent in 73 days remains a mystery. NSFAS food allowance money is not cash. It is loaded onto a student card and works as a voucher. However, some students manage to exchange the voucher for cash by striking deals with certain shops.
Michael Ansell, CEO of Intellimali, the company which administers NSFAS payments to WSU students, said they paid her in error, and would be investigating her for fraud.
“Legal action will be taken against the student,” he said.
Ansell said a forensic investigator has been appointed.
Mani said yesterday: “It is very clear I didn’t make the error, so call WSU and NSFAS.”
Flatmates at her residence said she had gone to ground since the story broke.
Classmates said she was not at lectures and had deactivated her Facebook account.
Students said the money she blew could have supported 1200 students for an entire year. In May, WSU students protested when 3000 students were left without funding due to shortages of money.
Her resmates said Mani was from an apparently well-off family.
WSU spokeswoman Yonela Tukwayo said WSU would make Mani repay the money.
Criminal lawyer Ulrich Roux said she could definitely be criminally charged if she didn’t repay the money.
Picture credit: Twitter
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